ediable histories (dec06)

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Call for Papers for a book project (editors Franca Iacovetta, Marlene Epp, Valerie Korinek):
Edible Histories, Cultural Politics: Towards a Canadian Food History.
Food is about more than cooking and eating. While many might view their food tastes as a matter
of personal preference, food customs and their attendant practices are deeply informed,
prescribed, or mediated by a range of forces and factors, including state policies, nutritional
experts, educational and other institutional regimes, class conditions, multinational food
corporations, and the mass media. The practises surrounding the purchase, preparation, and
consumption of food have long provided both a cultural means of re-affirming family or community
solidarity and a source of class, racial, and gender conflict and negotiation. Food campaigns have
been the site of clashes and accommodations between health professionals and First Nations,
working-class, and poor mothers told to forsake folk routines for "scientific" regimes and between
the gatekeepers of receiving societies and immigrant newcomers bearing "exotic" or "offensive"
cuisines. The contact zones created by the mixing of peoples on the move and those they meet
have given rise to countless hybrid diets. Food has been a critical cultural signifier, one that has
also helped to demarcate or reinforce the boundaries of class, gender, nation, and race and the
line between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. The abundance or scarcity of food, as well
as the introduction of new foodstuffs, has also marked and shaped historical experience, both
collective and individual. As well, food in all aspects is central to the formation of personal and
group identity and figures significantly and symbolically in the sources, oral and written, that
reveal those histories. The history of food, then, is also about the history of power, or cultural
politics that are classed, raced, sexed, and crossed with lines of authority, struggle, subservience,
survival, and daily life.
Canadian historians and other scholars have begun to contribute to the rapidly expanding field of
food history, largely through studies of missionary campaigns, women’s magazines, immigrant
and refugee experiences, consumer practices, cookbooks, and that most famous Canadian snack
icon, the donut. To date, however, there is no book-length volume that provides an entry into the
field by, for instance, addressing the literature on food, the multiple ways of writing food histories,
and the merits and pitfalls of "doing" political, social, and cultural histories of Canada through the
lens of food and its accompanying practices. This leads us to a call for submissions for an essay
collection on Canadian food history. We are interested in a wide range of contributions from
across the chronological spectrum. We invite theory and method papers as well as empiricallybased essays on a wide range of issues and topics, including, for example, food as colonizing
and/or resistance strategy; ethnic food ways; state campaigns and state institutions; food writers
and fashion-makers; food as social and cultural practise; pub, tavern and restaurant businesses
and cultures; food migration and transnationalism, and class-based histories of food. We invite
theoretical and methodological papers, from a historical perspective, that address the debates
and approaches within cultural studies, race-critical, family and childhood, and women and
gender history contexts. We will also consider papers in related fields, such as tobacco, drugs
and alcohol studies and consumer histories, provided they intersect substantively with the history
of food.
Please send a short cv and abstract (one page; an informal abstract is fine) to:
Franca Iacovetta, [email protected]; Marlene Epp, [email protected]; or Valerie
Korinek, [email protected]
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